The statue in the centre of the Piazza Bologni in Palermo represents Charles V. It was sculpted by Scipione Li Volsci in 1630. The statue took up its position in 1631, almost one century after Charles V had visited the city on his return from the victorious war in Tunisi.
Statue of Charles V Palermo (Piazza Bologni)
History and description
In 1535 Emperor Charles V won the battle of Tunisi against the armies of the Ottoman Empire. The Emperor’s expedition had been a pre-emptive strike against the enemy, since it was feared that the Turks would otherwise have used Tunisi as a basis from where to attack Sicily.
After his return the emperor travelled though Palermo. This event was commemorated almost one century later by placing a statue in his honor in the Piazza Bologni.
Sciopione Li Volsci sculpted the bronze statue in 1630. The pedestal was made by Giacomo Cirasolo and Luigi Geraci in 1631. In that same year the statue, which had originally been meant to decorate the Piazza Vigliena, was placed in the Piazza Bologni.
In 1632, more decorations were added by Giovanni Travaglia. These include the imperial eagle, the columns of Hercules (which represent the empire beyond Gibraltar) and the multi-headed hydra ( a mythological snake, in this case representing Luther’s heresies).
Charles V himself is wearing a laurel crown and is dressed as a warrior, with an ancient tunic and a sword. He is depicted in the act of swearing loyalty to the Constitution and to the privileges he has bestowed on the Kingdom of Sicily.
In the 1930s, the fascist leaders used to hold speeches in the square. In order to better be seen, they had the statue moved to the back of the square. After the end of the war, it was move moved back to its original position.
Piazza Bologni Statue of Charles V, Palermo
The statue can easily be reached on foot from the central station, by turning left when you exit and the right onto the Via Maqueda.